Parenting is a strange world of non choices masquerading as choices. I sometimes feel that the last choice I freely made, was the one where I stopped taking the pill and decided to have a baby. It started in the NCT classes when they told you that you could write a birth plan and actually influence how your baby was going to be born. I would love to see some stats to understand what percentage of women actually give a rats arse about their birth plan once they have what appears to be a cage fighter pummelling it’s way out of their vagina. Once you’re there, you just want it to end, you stop giving a shit about the journey. If the midwife had told me that setting fire to my own muff would make the pain stop, I’d have been begging for matches.
These days “choices” seem to fall into the following categories:
The one where your child chooses for you: The Diva (4) likes to play a myriad of games which involve her being in charge of stuff. This can be schools – where she is the teacher- or dancing class – where she is the instructor – or most commonly shops. She is always the shopkeeper and her younger brother and I are always the customers. These roles are non negotiable. Going to the Diva’s shop is much like spending 10 minutes in an episode of “open all hours”. She never actually has what you want to buy in stock (despite the fact you can clearly see it displayed on the shelves) and she always ensures you leave the shop having spent £37 on an item you absolutely don’t require. You NEVER get to have what you choose. You asked her for a carrot, you leave with some pizza, a fish and a Pepper Pig Sticker book with no stickers left to do. .
The Rock and the hard place: In this one, you have choices and options, but all of them are shit. Under this category you will find situations such as poor sleeping habits. Your choices appear to be 1. Leave your child to cry (this is likely to make you feel more evil than Hitler, will probably make you cry and make you have an argument with your husband about who’s ridiculous idea it was in the first place) or 2. allow your child to go to bed at 9pm, get up 25 times a night, and start demanding paw patrol at 5.30am. Or 3. Attempt the slow retreat which means committing yourself to spending 2 hours every evening sat on the landing carpet praying for your child to just fall a-fucking-sleep.
The one where the child behaves so badly you remove all the options yourself:
This category is mostly filled with terrible threats you make and then have to follow through with. You over confidently remove the choices yourself, imagining that this will shepherd your child down a lovely path of compliance. Then you remember that this only works in other people’s children and in fact you are now stuck in the house on a glorious sunny day, refusing to take your children to the playground or even the garden because your 2 year old decided that he did not want to put his shoes on. Now you’ve been watching Fireman Sam DVDs on repeat for 2 hours and the theme tune is making you want to tear your own ears off with your bare hands. And if Sam actually rescues Norman Price again and doesn’t just leave him to die, you might have to go to Pontypandy yourself and finish the job.
So really, now I’m left to make the most important choice of the day, red or white……..?